Motorcycle racing in Italy is always a major undertaking for the likes of the Ducati Xerox World Superbike team, with the expectations of a motorbike-mad populace usually resting on the shoulders of the riders in red – this year once more Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio.
The arrival of Aprilia in the motorcycle racing championship last year, and with half the teams in the World SBK championship based in Italy somewhere, has only intensified the focus of attention for Ducati at the first of three Italian-based WSBK rounds.
By their own high standards, the Ducati Xerox team is keen to make much needed improvements in its race day results, starting from this race at Monza.
A recent test at Misano has been a help to the team in its preparations, and the good news for all is that both Haga and Fabrizio are proven winners at Monza.
Haga, winner of some 42 World Superbike races, said his chances at Monza would not be easy.
Nori Haga says: "This weekend will be tough; I like the Monza track but at the same time I know that my 1198 does not have the top speed of some of the other bikes and with Monza’s long straights, it will be hard for us I think. Nevertheless, I’ll be opening the gas and giving 200%."
Fabrizio only has to look to last year to find inspiration to have his best weekend of 2010 so far.
Michele Fabrizio says: "I had a good weekend here last year and am very happy that my first ever Superbike race win came in front of my home crowd, at Monza," said Fabrizio. "We’ve not had an easy run of things recently but testing went well at Misano last week and I’ll be doing everything to put on a great performance this weekend. We need to start to make up lost ground."
Last year during World Superbike race 1, Michel Fabrizio took home the win with Noriyuki Haga finishing second. In race 2, Fabrizio finished second. But year the Factory Ducati team has struggles relative to others years.
Leon Haslam on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 leads the World Superbike title race with 148 points. Max Biaggi on the Aprilia RSV4 follows with 128 and Jonathan Rea on the Honda CBR1000RR rounds out the top 3 with 110 points.
Carlos Checa on the Privateer Ducati with 103 and James Toseland on the Yamaha R1 with 86 are both ahead of the Xerox Factory-backed squad. Noriyuki Haga on the Factory Ducati trails in 6th with 85 points while Michel Fabrizio sits in 9th with 53 points.